Salad, Please…Hold the Lettuce


As this is my first post of 2013 I’ve brought all of you a special gift: 15 more pounds of me! This is in addition to the extra 6 pounds that I gained LAST year during the holidays. I don’t know what comes over me but during the last 6 weeks of the year I go on an eating, drinking and cooking bender that always results in a resolution of diet and exercise. Except that last year I never dropped the 6 new pounds which means that I am now 21 pounds heavier than I was in 2011.

But fear not ESers, this isn’t going to turn into a diet column anytime soon. I’m simply going to apply the M word to my daily intake and consume food in realistic proportions. From now on, whenever I make a pie I will divide it into equal pieces and down a SINGLE slice instead of just grabbing a fork and eating until the pan is empty. The same goes for pasta. A one-pound bag used to be my normal portion but from now on I will make sure that I get at least 4 servings out of each package. Preferably at 4 different meals!

I will even DRINK in moderation. I’ve cut my alcohol consumption down to 3 days a week instead of 3 times a day. No more shot-and-a-beer breakfasts during the week. From now on it’ll be…uh…whatever everyone else normally has for breakfast! I probably won’t even need the aspirins anymore. I could actually start taking real vitamins instead of telling everyone that my aspirins are vitamins.

OK, wait a minute here. Let’s start with baby steps. I’m going to need food that tastes good and fills me up so that I can stop eating like a termite with a tapeworm. Some healthy side dishes that will help me moderate my serving portions. Something fresh and clean like an oriental cucumber salad, but with more than just cucumbers. Something – like this:

Katt’s Cucumber, Onion and Bell Pepper Salad

3 good-looking cucumbers
1 red bell pepper
½ medium red onion
Kosher salt
1/3 cup of rice vinegar
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of sesame oil


I’m not a big fan of lettuce salads because I usually smother them in dressing which defeats the purpose of eating a salad in the first place. But I love the clean taste of a cucumber salad marinated in rice vinegar, and the cucumbers fill me up more so than lettuce. This salad is best eaten about 2 hours after assembling, as it tends to shed water and intensify the garlic throughout the marinating process. You might not want to take this to the office the next day for lunch unless you’re expecting to be attacked by vampires.


First, slice up the cucumber, red pepper and onion, and mince the garlic.

Then, get a large bowl and lay down a layer of cucumber slices and sprinkle them with a good amount of salt. Continue creating layers of cucumbers, onions and peppers, salting each layer. Don’t worry about over salting them. You’ll see in a minute.


Once you have all of the veggies salted and layered in the bowl, let them sit for 10 minutes and then fill the bowl with cold water. Let it sit for an additional 10 minutes. Then drain the water and run the veggies through a salad spinner to shed as much of the water as possible. The water bath pumps up the vegetables and evenly distributes the salt.


Next, get a large freezer bag and dump in the veggies, the garlic, the rice vinegar and the sesame oil, seal and shake well. In the past I would usually also add about a tablespoon of sugar into the mix, but I’m trying to be a good boy. Pop the bag into the fridge and flip it over each half hour for the next 2 hours. Then, it’s ready for plating. Or you can just eat it right out of the bag! Uh,…on second thought, plating is the way to go. That’s the way normal sized humans do it. So I’m told.


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